Publications by authors named "Daniel R Feikin"

176 Publications

Evaluation of post-introduction COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness: Summary of interim guidance of the World Health Organization.

Vaccine 2021 Jun 1. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, Geneva 1211, Switzerland.

Phase 3 randomized-controlled trials have provided promising results of COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, ranging from 50 to 95% against symptomatic disease as the primary endpoints, resulting in emergency use authorization/listing for several vaccines. However, given the short duration of follow-up during the clinical trials, strict eligibility criteria, emerging variants of concern, and the changing epidemiology of the pandemic, many questions still remain unanswered regarding vaccine performance. Post-introduction vaccine effectiveness evaluations can help us to understand the vaccine's effect on reducing infection and disease when used in real-world conditions. They can also address important questions that were either not studied or were incompletely studied in the trials and that will inform evolving vaccine policy, including assessment of the duration of effectiveness; effectiveness in key subpopulations, such as the very old or immunocompromised; against severe disease and death due to COVID-19; against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern; and with different vaccination schedules, such as number of doses and varying dosing intervals. WHO convened an expert panel to develop interim best practice guidance for COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness evaluations. We present a summary of the interim guidance, including discussion of different study designs, priority outcomes to evaluate, potential biases, existing surveillance platforms that can be used, and recommendations for reporting results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.05.099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166525PMC
June 2021

Respiratory syncytial virus seasonality and prevention strategy planning for passive immunisation of infants in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study.

Lancet Infect Dis 2021 May 6. Epub 2021 May 6.

Centre for Global Health, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; Respiratory Syncytial Virus Network (ReSViNET) Foundation, Zeist, Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) represents a substantial burden of disease in young infants in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Because RSV passive immunisations, including maternal vaccination and monoclonal antibodies, can only grant a temporary period of protection, their effectiveness and efficiency will be determined by the timing of the immunisation relative to the underlying RSV seasonality. We aimed to assess the potential effect of different approaches for passive RSV immunisation of infants in LMICs.

Methods: We included 52 LMICs in this study on the basis of the availability of RSV seasonality data and developed a mathematical model to compare the effect of different RSV passive immunisation approaches (seasonal approaches vs a year-round approach). For each candidate approach, we calculated the expected annual proportion of RSV incidence among infants younger than 6 months averted (effectiveness) and the ratio of per-dose cases averted between that approach and the year-round approach (relative efficiency).

Findings: 39 (75%) of 52 LMICs included in the study had clear RSV seasonality, defined as having more than 75% of annual RSV cases occurring in 5 or fewer months. In these countries with clear RSV seasonality, the seasonal approach in which monoclonal antibody administration began 3 months before RSV season onset was only a median of 16% (IQR 13-18) less effective in averting RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) hospital admissions than a year-round approach, but was a median of 70% (50-97) more efficient in reducing RSV-associated hospital admissions per dose. The seasonal approach that delivered maternal vaccination 1 month before the season onset was a median of 27% (25-33) less effective in averting hospital admissions associated with RSV-ALRI than a year-round approach, but was a median of 126% (87-177) more efficient at averting these hospital admissions per dose.

Interpretation: In LMICs with clear RSV seasonality, seasonal approaches to monoclonal antibody and maternal vaccine administration might optimise disease prevention by dose given compared with year-round administration. More data are needed to clarify if seasonal administration of RSV monoclonal antibodies or maternal immunisation is programmatically suitable and cost effective in LMICs.

Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30703-9DOI Listing
May 2021

Global Landscape Review of Serotype-Specific Invasive Pneumococcal Disease Surveillance among Countries Using PCV10/13: The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) Project.

Microorganisms 2021 Apr 2;9(4). Epub 2021 Apr 2.

National Public Health Organisation, 15123 Athens, Greece.

Serotype-specific surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is essential for assessing the impact of 10- and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV10/13). The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) project aimed to evaluate the global evidence to estimate the impact of PCV10/13 by age, product, schedule, and syndrome. Here we systematically characterize and summarize the global landscape of routine serotype-specific IPD surveillance in PCV10/13-using countries and describe the subset that are included in PSERENADE. Of 138 countries using PCV10/13 as of 2018, we identified 109 with IPD surveillance systems, 76 of which met PSERENADE data collection eligibility criteria. PSERENADE received data from most (n = 63, 82.9%), yielding 240,639 post-PCV10/13 introduction IPD cases. Pediatric and adult surveillance was represented from all geographic regions but was limited from lower income and high-burden countries. In PSERENADE, 18 sites evaluated PCV10, 42 PCV13, and 17 both; 17 sites used a 3 + 0 schedule, 38 used 2 + 1, 13 used 3 + 1, and 9 used mixed schedules. With such a sizeable and generally representative dataset, PSERENADE will be able to conduct robust analyses to estimate PCV impact and inform policy at national and global levels regarding adult immunization, schedule, and product choice, including for higher valency PCVs on the horizon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040742DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066045PMC
April 2021

Serotype Distribution of Remaining Pneumococcal Meningitis in the Mature PCV10/13 Period: Findings from the PSERENADE Project.

Microorganisms 2021 Apr 1;9(4). Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Landspitali-The National University Hospital, Hringbraut, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) introduction has reduced pneumococcal meningitis incidence. The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) project described the serotype distribution of remaining pneumococcal meningitis in countries using PCV10/13 for least 5-7 years with primary series uptake above 70%. The distribution was estimated using a multinomial Dirichlet regression model, stratified by PCV product and age. In PCV10-using sites ( = 8; cases = 1141), PCV10 types caused 5% of cases <5 years of age and 15% among ≥5 years; the top serotypes were 19A, 6C, and 3, together causing 42% of cases <5 years and 37% ≥5 years. In PCV13-using sites ( = 32; cases = 4503), PCV13 types caused 14% in <5 and 26% in ≥5 years; 4% and 13%, respectively, were serotype 3. Among the top serotypes are five (15BC, 8, 12F, 10A, and 22F) included in higher-valency PCVs under evaluation. Other top serotypes (24F, 23B, and 23A) are not in any known investigational product. In countries with mature vaccination programs, the proportion of pneumococcal meningitis caused by vaccine-in-use serotypes is lower (≤26% across all ages) than pre-PCV (≥70% in children). Higher-valency PCVs under evaluation target over half of remaining pneumococcal meningitis cases, but questions remain regarding generalizability to the African meningitis belt where additional data are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040738DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066874PMC
April 2021

Upper Respiratory Tract Co-detection of Human Endemic Coronaviruses and High-density Pneumococcus Associated With Increased Severity Among HIV-Uninfected Children Under 5 Years Old in the PERCH Study.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2021 06;40(6):503-512

Department of Pediatrics, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: Severity of viral respiratory illnesses can be increased with bacterial coinfection and can vary by sex, but influence of coinfection and sex on human endemic coronavirus (CoV) species, which generally cause mild to moderate respiratory illness, is unknown. We evaluated CoV and pneumococcal co-detection by sex in childhood pneumonia.

Methods: In the 2011-2014 Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health study, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal (NP/OP) swabs and other samples were collected from 3981 children <5 years hospitalized with severe or very severe pneumonia in 7 countries. Severity by NP/OP detection status of CoV (NL63, 229E, OC43 or HKU1) and high-density (≥6.9 log10 copies/mL) pneumococcus (HDSpn) by real-time polymerase chain reaction was assessed by sex using logistic regression adjusted for age and site.

Results: There were 43 (1.1%) CoV+/HDSpn+, 247 CoV+/HDSpn-, 449 CoV-/HDSpn+ and 3149 CoV-/HDSpn- cases with no significant difference in co-detection frequency by sex (range 51.2%-64.0% male, P = 0.06). More CoV+/HDSpn+ pneumonia was very severe compared with other groups for both males (13/22, 59.1% versus range 29.1%-34.7%, P = 0.04) and females (10/21, 47.6% versus 32.5%-43.5%, P = 0.009), but only male CoV+/HDSpn+ required supplemental oxygen more frequently (45.0% versus 20.6%-28.6%, P < 0.001) and had higher mortality (35.0% versus 5.3%-7.1%, P = 0.004) than other groups. For females with CoV+/HDSpn+, supplemental oxygen was 25.0% versus 24.8%-33.3% (P = 0.58) and mortality was 10.0% versus 9.2%-12.9% (P = 0.69).

Conclusions: Co-detection of endemic CoV and HDSpn was rare in children hospitalized with pneumonia, but associated with higher severity and mortality in males. Findings may warrant investigation of differences in severity by sex with co-detection of HDSpn and SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000003139DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8104011PMC
June 2021

Changes in Invasive Pneumococcal Disease Caused by Serotype 1 Following Introduction of PCV10 and PCV13: Findings from the PSERENADE Project.

Microorganisms 2021 03 27;9(4). Epub 2021 Mar 27.

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, Children's Hospital Westmead Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia.

serotype 1 (ST1) was an important cause of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) globally before the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) containing ST1 antigen. The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) project gathered ST1 IPD surveillance data from sites globally and aimed to estimate PCV10/13 impact on ST1 IPD incidence. We estimated ST1 IPD incidence rate ratios (IRRs) comparing the pre-PCV10/13 period to each post-PCV10/13 year by site using a Bayesian multi-level, mixed-effects Poisson regression and all-site IRRs using a linear mixed-effects regression (N = 45 sites). Following PCV10/13 introduction, the incidence rate (IR) of ST1 IPD declined among all ages. After six years of PCV10/13 use, the all-site IRR was 0.05 (95% credibility interval 0.04-0.06) for all ages, 0.05 (0.04-0.05) for <5 years of age, 0.08 (0.06-0.09) for 5-17 years, 0.06 (0.05-0.08) for 18-49 years, 0.06 (0.05-0.07) for 50-64 years, and 0.05 (0.04-0.06) for ≥65 years. PCV10/13 use in infant immunization programs was followed by a 95% reduction in ST1 IPD in all ages after approximately 6 years. Limited data availability from the highest ST1 disease burden countries using a 3+0 schedule constrains generalizability and data from these settings are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040696DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066231PMC
March 2021

Estimating the Percentage of a Population Infected with SARS-CoV-2 Using the Number of Reported Deaths: A Policy Planning Tool.

Pathogens 2020 Oct 13;9(10). Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK.

The magnitude of future waves of Covid19 in a population will depend, in part, on the percentage of that population already infected, recovered, and presumably immune. Sero-epidemiological surveys can define the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in various populations. However, sero-surveys are resource-intensive and methodologically challenging, limiting widespread use. We propose a relatively simple method for calculating the percentage of a population infected, which depends on the number of reported Covid19 deaths, a figure usually more reliable and less dependent on variable testing practices than the total number of reported Covid19 cases, and the infection fatality rate, a figure that is relatively stable in similar populations. The method can be applied in different sized areas, such as states, districts, or cities. Such an approach can provide useful, real-time estimates of probable population immunity in settings unable to undertake multiple sero-surveys. This method is applicable to low- and lower-middle-income country (LMIC) settings where sero-survey data will likely be limited; however, better estimates of infection fatality rates and Covid19 death counts in LMICs are needed to improve the method's accuracy. Information on the percentage of a population infected will help public health authorities in planning for future waves of Covid19, including where to most effectively deploy vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9100838DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7602107PMC
October 2020

Limited Added Value of Oropharyngeal Swabs for Detecting Pneumococcal Carriage in Adults.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2020 Sep 18;7(9):ofaa368. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

We compared pneumococcal isolation rates and evaluated the benefit of using oropharyngeal (OP) specimens in addition to nasopharyngeal (NP) specimens collected from adults in rural Kenya. Of 846 adults, 52.1% were colonized; pneumococci were detected from both NP and OP specimens in 23.5%, NP only in 22.9%, and OP only in 5.7%. Ten-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine strains were detected from both NP and OP in 3.4%, NP only in 4.1%, and OP only in 0.7%. Inclusion of OP swabs increased carriage detection by 5.7%; however, the added cost of collecting and processing OP specimens may justify exclusion from future carriage studies among adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofaa368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7505525PMC
September 2020

Digital auscultation in PERCH: Associations with chest radiography and pneumonia mortality in children.

Pediatr Pulmonol 2020 11 11;55(11):3197-3208. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia.

Background: Whether digitally recorded lung sounds are associated with radiographic pneumonia or clinical outcomes among children in low-income and middle-income countries is unknown. We sought to address these knowledge gaps.

Methods: We enrolled 1 to 59monthold children hospitalized with pneumonia at eight African and Asian Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health sites in six countries, recorded digital stethoscope lung sounds, obtained chest radiographs, and collected clinical outcomes. Recordings were processed and classified into binary categories positive or negative for adventitial lung sounds. Listening and reading panels classified recordings and radiographs. Recording classification associations with chest radiographs with World Health Organization (WHO)-defined primary endpoint pneumonia (radiographic pneumonia) or mortality were evaluated. We also examined case fatality among risk strata.

Results: Among children without WHO danger signs, wheezing (without crackles) had a lower adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for radiographic pneumonia (0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.15, 0.82), compared to children with normal recordings. Neither crackle only (no wheeze) (aOR: 2.13, 95% CI: 0.91, 4.96) or any wheeze (with or without crackle) (aOR: 0.63, 95% CI: 0.34, 1.15) were associated with radiographic pneumonia. Among children with WHO danger signs no lung recording classification was independently associated with radiographic pneumonia, although trends toward greater odds of radiographic pneumonia were observed among children classified with crackle only (no wheeze) or any wheeze (with or without crackle). Among children without WHO danger signs, those with recorded wheezing had a lower case fatality than those without wheezing (3.8% vs. 9.1%, p = .03).

Conclusions: Among lower risk children without WHO danger signs digitally recorded wheezing is associated with a lower odds for radiographic pneumonia and with lower mortality. Although further research is needed, these data indicate that with further development digital auscultation may eventually contribute to child pneumonia care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ppul.25046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7692889PMC
November 2020

Assessing the strength of evidence for a causal effect of respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract infections on subsequent wheezing illness: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Lancet Respir Med 2020 08;8(8):795-806

Department of Psychology, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Although a positive association has been established, it is unclear whether lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cause chronic wheezing illnesses. If RSV-LRTI were causal, we would expect RSV-LRTI prevention to reduce the incidence of chronic wheezing illnesses in addition to reducing acute disease. We aimed to evaluate the strength of evidence for a causal effect of RSV-LRTI on subsequent chronic wheezing illness to inform public health expectations for RSV vaccines.

Methods: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies evaluating the association between RSV-LRTI and subsequent wheezing illness (exposure studies) and studies evaluating the association between RSV immunoprophylaxis and subsequent wheezing illness (immunoprophylaxis studies). Exposure studies were included if the exposure group members had an LRTI with laboratory-confirmed RSV and if the exposure ascertainment period began before 2 years of age and ended before 5 years of age. We required a wash-out period of more than 30 days between the index RSV-LRTI and the outcome measurement to allow for resolution of the acute illness. Comparisons between RSV-LRTI and non-RSV-LRTI were not included. Immunoprophylaxis studies were included if they measured the association with subsequent wheezing illness relative to a control group, either in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) or an observational design. For the immunoprophylaxis drugs in question, we required evidence of efficacy in targeting RSV-LRTI from at least one RCT to ensure biological plausibility. All variations of wheezing illness were combined into a single outcome that refers broadly to asthma or any other respiratory illness with wheezing symptoms. Ovid MEDLINE and Embase databases were searched from inception up to Aug 28, 2018. We evaluated whether data from exposure studies could provide evidence against the most viable non-causal theory that RSV-LRTI is a marker of respiratory illness susceptibility rather than a causal factor. Additionally, we tested whether RSV immunoprophylaxis reduces the odds of subsequent wheezing illnesses. We used a random-effects modelling framework and, to accommodate studies providing multiple correlated estimates, robust variance estimation meta-regressions. Meta-regression coefficients (b) quantify differences between exposure and comparator groups on the log odds ratio (log OR) scale.

Findings: From 14 235 records we identified 57 eligible articles that described 42 studies and provided 153 effect estimates. 35 studies estimated the direct effect of RSV-LRTI on wheezing illnesses (exposure studies) and eight evaluated the effect of RSV immunoprophylaxis (immunoprophylaxis studies). Exposure studies that adjusted for genetic influences yielded a smaller mean adjusted OR estimate (aOR 2·45, 95% CI 1·23-4·88) compared with those that did not (4·17, 2·36-7·37), a significant difference (b 0·53, 95% CI 0·04-1·02). Infants who were not protected with RSV immunoprophylaxis tended to have higher odds of subsequent wheezing illness, as we would expect if RSV-LRTI were causal, but the effect was not significant (OR 1·21, 95% CI 0·73-1·99). There was generally a high threat of confounding bias in the observational studies. Additionally, in both the observational studies and immunoprophylaxis RCTs, there was high risk of bias due to missing outcome data.

Interpretation: Our findings, limited to exposure and immunoprophylaxis studies, do not support basing policy decisions on an assumption that prevention of RSV-LRTI will reduce recurrent chronic wheezing illnesses.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30109-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7464591PMC
August 2020

The Aetiology of pneumonia from analysis of Lung aspirate and Pleural fluid samples: Findings from the PERCH study.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 Jul 25. Epub 2020 Jul 25.

Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: An improved understanding of childhood pneumonia aetiology is required to inform prevention and treatment strategies. Lung aspiration is the gold standard specimen for pneumonia diagnostics. We report findings from analyses of lung and pleural aspirates collected in the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study.

Methods: The PERCH study enrolled children aged 1-59 months hospitalized with World Health Organization defined severe or very severe pneumonia in 7 countries in Africa and Asia. Percutaneous trans-thoracic lung (LA) and pleural fluid (PF) aspiration was performed on a sample of pneumonia cases with radiological consolidation and/or pleural fluid in 4 countries. Venous blood and nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swabs were collected from all cases. Multiplex quantitative PCR and routine microbiologic culture were applied to clinical specimens.

Results: Of 44 LAs performed within 3 days of admission on 622 eligible cases, 13 (30%) had a pathogen identified by either culture (5/44) or by PCR (11/29). A pathogen was identified in 12/14 (86%) PF specimens tested by either culture (9/14) or PCR (9/11). Bacterial pathogens were identified more frequently than viruses. All but one of the cases with a virus identified were co-infected with bacterial pathogens. Streptococcus pneumoniae (9/44 [20%]) and Staphylococcus aureus (7/14 [50%]) were the predominant pathogen identified in LA and PF, respectively.

Conclusions: Bacterial pathogens predominated in this selected subgroup of PERCH participants drawn from those with radiological consolidation or pleural fluid, with S. pneumoniae and S. aureus the leading pathogens identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1032DOI Listing
July 2020

Does respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory illness in early life cause recurrent wheeze of early childhood and asthma? Critical review of the evidence and guidance for future studies from a World Health Organization-sponsored meeting.

Vaccine 2020 03 20;38(11):2435-2448. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Department of Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, Geneva, Switzerland.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and hospitalization in infants and children globally. Many observational studies have found an association between RSV LRTI in early life and subsequent respiratory morbidity, including recurrent wheeze of early childhood (RWEC) and asthma. Conversely, two randomized placebo-controlled trials of efficacious anti-RSV monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in heterogenous infant populations found no difference in physician-diagnosed RWEC or asthma by treatment group. If a causal association exists and RSV vaccines and mAbs can prevent a substantial fraction of RWEC/asthma, the full public health value of these interventions would markedly increase. The primary alternative interpretation of the observational data is that RSV LRTI in early life is a marker of an underlying predisposition for the development of RWEC and asthma. If this is the case, RSV vaccines and mAbs would not necessarily be expected to impact these outcomes. To evaluate whether the available evidence supports a causal association between RSV LRTI and RWEC/asthma and to provide guidance for future studies, the World Health Organization convened a meeting of subject matter experts on February 12-13, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. After discussing relevant background information and reviewing the current epidemiologic evidence, the group determined that: (i) the evidence is inconclusive in establishing a causal association between RSV LRTI and RWEC/asthma, (ii) the evidence does not establish that RSV mAbs (and, by extension, future vaccines) will have a substantial effect on these outcomes and (iii) regardless of the association with long-term childhood respiratory morbidity, severe acute RSV disease in young children poses a substantial public health burden and should continue to be the primary consideration for policy-setting bodies deliberating on RSV vaccine and mAb recommendations. Nonetheless, the group recognized the public health importance of resolving this question and suggested good practice guidelines for future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.01.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7049900PMC
March 2020

The Predictive Performance of a Pneumonia Severity Score in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-negative Children Presenting to Hospital in 7 Low- and Middle-income Countries.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 03;70(6):1050-1057

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.

Background: In 2015, pneumonia remained the leading cause of mortality in children aged 1-59 months.

Methods: Data from 1802 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative children aged 1-59 months enrolled in the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study with severe or very severe pneumonia during 2011-2014 were used to build a parsimonious multivariable model predicting mortality using backwards stepwise logistic regression. The PERCH severity score, derived from model coefficients, was validated on a second, temporally discrete dataset of a further 1819 cases and compared to other available scores using the C statistic.

Results: Predictors of mortality, across 7 low- and middle-income countries, were age <1 year, female sex, ≥3 days of illness prior to presentation to hospital, low weight for height, unresponsiveness, deep breathing, hypoxemia, grunting, and the absence of cough. The model discriminated well between those who died and those who survived (C statistic = 0.84), but the predictive capacity of the PERCH 5-stratum score derived from the coefficients was moderate (C statistic = 0.76). The performance of the Respiratory Index of Severity in Children score was similar (C statistic = 0.76). The number of World Health Organization (WHO) danger signs demonstrated the highest discrimination (C statistic = 0.82; 1.5% died if no danger signs, 10% if 1 danger sign, and 33% if ≥2 danger signs).

Conclusions: The PERCH severity score could be used to interpret geographic variations in pneumonia mortality and etiology. The number of WHO danger signs on presentation to hospital could be the most useful of the currently available tools to aid clinical management of pneumonia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz350DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610754PMC
March 2020

Indirect Effects of 10-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Against Adult Pneumococcal Pneumonia in Rural Western Kenya.

Clin Infect Dis 2019 11;69(12):2177-2184

Division of Global Health Protection, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nairobi, Kenya.

Background: Data on pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) indirect effects in low-income countries with high human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) burden are limited. We examined adult pneumococcal pneumonia incidence before and after PCV introduction in Kenya in 2011.

Methods: From 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2016, we conducted surveillance for acute respiratory infection (ARI) among ~12 000 adults (≥18 years) in western Kenya, where HIV prevalence is ~17%. ARI cases (cough or difficulty breathing or chest pain, plus temperature ≥38.0°C or oxygen saturation <90%) presenting to a clinic underwent blood culture and pneumococcal urine antigen testing (UAT). We calculated ARI incidence and adjusted for healthcare seeking. The proportion of ARI cases with pneumococcus detected among those with complete testing (blood culture and UAT) was multiplied by adjusted ARI incidence to estimate pneumococcal pneumonia incidence.

Results: Pre-PCV (2008-2010) crude and adjusted ARI incidences were 3.14 and 5.30/100 person-years-observation (pyo), respectively. Among ARI cases, 39.0% (340/872) had both blood culture and UAT; 21.2% (72/340) had pneumococcus detected, yielding a baseline pneumococcal pneumonia incidence of 1.12/100 pyo (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-1.3). In each post-PCV year (2012-2016), the incidence was significantly lower than baseline; with incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of 0.53 (95% CI: 0.31-0.61) in 2012 and 0.13 (95% CI: 0.09-0.17) in 2016. Similar declines were observed in HIV-infected (IRR: 0.13; 95% CI: 0.08-0.22) and HIV-uninfected (IRR: 0.10; 95% CI: 0.05-0.20) adults.

Conclusions: Adult pneumococcal pneumonia declined in western Kenya following PCV introduction, likely reflecting vaccine indirect effects. Evidence of herd protection is critical for guiding PCV policy decisions in resource-constrained areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz139DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861607PMC
November 2019

, and Strains With Highly Similar Loci and Antigenic Relatedness to Serotype 5 Pneumococci.

Front Microbiol 2018 8;9:3199. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States.

is a highly impactful bacterial pathogen on a global scale. The principal pneumococcal virulence factor and target of effective vaccines is its polysaccharide capsule, of which there are many structurally distinct forms. Here, we describe four distinct strains of three Mitis group commensal species (, , and ) recovered from upper respiratory tract specimens from adults in Kenya and the United States that were PCR-positive for the pneumococcal serotype 5 specific gene, . For each of the four strains, the 15 genes comprising the capsular polysaccharide biosynthetic gene cluster () shared the same order found in serotype 5 pneumococci, and each of the serotype 5-specific genes from the serotype 5 pneumococcal reference strain shared 76-99% sequence identity with the non-pneumococcal counterparts. Double-diffusion experiments demonstrated specific reactivity of the non-pneumococcal strains with pneumococcal serotype 5 typing sera. Antiserum raised against strain KE67013 specifically reacted with serotype 5 pneumococci for a positive Quellung reaction and stimulated serotype 5 specific opsonophagocytic killing of pneumococci. Four additional commensal strains, identified using PCR serotyping assays on pharyngeal specimens, revealed loci highly homologous to those of pneumococci of serotypes 12F, 15A, 18C, and 33F. These data, in particular the species and strain diversity shown for serotype 5, highlight the existence of a broad non-pneumococcal species reservoir in the upper respiratory tract for the expression of capsular polysaccharides that are structurally related or identical to those corresponding to epidemiologically significant serotypes. Very little is known about the genetic and antigenic capsular diversity among the vast array of commensal streptococcal strains that represent multiple diverse species. The discovery of serotype 5 strains within three different commensal species suggests that extensive capsular serologic overlap exists between pneumococci and other members of the diverse Mitis group. These findings may have implications for our current understanding of naturally acquired immunity to and pneumococcal serotype distributions in different global regions. Further characterization of commensal strains carrying homologs of serotype-specific genes previously thought to be specific for pneumococci of known serotypes may shed light on the evolution of these important loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.03199DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332807PMC
January 2019

Informing randomized clinical trials of respiratory syncytial virus vaccination during pregnancy to prevent recurrent childhood wheezing: A sample size analysis.

Vaccine 2018 12 22;36(52):8100-8109. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 685 W. Baltimore St, Suite 480, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Early RSV illness is associated with wheeze-associated disorders in childhood. Candidate respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines may prevent acute RSV illness in infants. We investigated the feasibility of maternal RSV vaccine trials to demonstrate reductions in recurrent childhood wheezing in general paediatric populations.

Methods: We calculated vaccine trial effect sizes that depended on vaccine efficacy, allocation ratio, rate of early severe RSV illness, risk of recurrent wheezing at age 3, and increased risk of RSV infection on recurrent wheezing. Model inputs came from systematic reviews and meta-analyses. For each combination of inputs, we estimated the sample size required to detect the effect of vaccination on recurrent wheezing.

Results: There were 81 scenarios with 1:1 allocation ratio. Risk ratios between vaccination and recurrent wheezing ranged from 0.9 to 1.0 for 70% of the scenarios. Among the 57 more plausible scenarios, the lowest sample size required to detect significant reductions in recurrent wheezing was 6196 mother-infant pairs per trial arm; however, 75% and 47% of plausible scenarios required >31,060 and >100,000 mother-infant pairs per trial arm, respectively. Studies with asthma endpoints at age 5 will likely need to be larger.

Discussion: Clinical efficacy trials of candidate maternal RSV vaccines undertaken for licensure are unlikely to demonstrate an effect on recurrent wheezing illness due to the large sample sizes likely needed to demonstrate a significant effect. Further efforts are needed to plan for alternative study designs to estimate the impact of maternal RSV vaccine programs on recurrent childhood wheezing in general populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.10.041DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288067PMC
December 2018

Severe Respiratory Illness Associated With Rhinovirus During the Enterovirus D68 Outbreak in the United States, August 2014-November 2014.

Clin Infect Dis 2018 05;66(10):1528-1534

Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia.

Background: In 2014, a nationwide outbreak of severe respiratory illness occurred in the United States, primarily associated with enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). A proportion of illness was associated with rhinoviruses (RVs) and other enteroviruses (EVs), which we aimed to characterize further.

Methods: Respiratory specimens from pediatric and adult patients with respiratory illness were submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during August 2014-November 2014. While initial laboratory testing focused on identification of EV-D68, the negative specimens were typed by molecular sequencing to identify additional EV and RV types. Testing for other pathogens was not conducted. We compared available clinical and epidemiologic characteristics among patients with EV-D68 and RV species A-C identified.

Results: Among 2629 typed specimens, 1012 were EV-D68 (39%) and 81 (3.1%) represented 24 other EV types; 968 were RVs (37%) covering 114 types and grouped into 3 human RV species (RV-A, 446; RV-B, 133; RV-C, 389); and 568 (22%) had no RV or EV detected. EV-D68 was more frequently identified in patients who presented earlier in the investigation period. Among patients with EV-D68, RV-A, RV-B, or RV-C, the age distributions markedly differed. Clinical syndromes and intensive care unit admissions by age were largely similar.

Conclusions: RVs were commonly associated with severe respiratory illness during a nationwide outbreak of EV-D68, and most clinical. Characteristics were similar between groups. A better understanding of the epidemiology of RVs and EVs is needed to help inform development and use of diagnostic tests, therapeutics, and preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix1034DOI Listing
May 2018

Listening panel agreement and characteristics of lung sounds digitally recorded from children aged 1-59 months enrolled in the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) case-control study.

BMJ Open Respir Res 2017 30;4(1):e000193. Epub 2017 Jun 30.

Kenya Medical Research Institute Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.

Introduction: Paediatric lung sound recordings can be systematically assessed, but methodological feasibility and validity is unknown, especially from developing countries. We examined the performance of acoustically interpreting recorded paediatric lung sounds and compared sound characteristics between cases and controls.

Methods: Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health staff in six African and Asian sites recorded lung sounds with a digital stethoscope in cases and controls. Cases aged 1-59 months had WHO severe or very severe pneumonia; age-matched community controls did not. A listening panel assigned examination results of normal, crackle, wheeze, crackle and wheeze or uninterpretable, with adjudication of discordant interpretations. Classifications were recategorised into any crackle, any wheeze or abnormal (any crackle or wheeze) and primary listener agreement (first two listeners) was analysed among interpretable examinations using the prevalence-adjusted, bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK). We examined predictors of disagreement with logistic regression and compared case and control lung sounds with descriptive statistics.

Results: Primary listeners considered 89.5% of 792 case and 92.4% of 301 control recordings interpretable. Among interpretable recordings, listeners agreed on the presence or absence of any abnormality in 74.9% (PABAK 0.50) of cases and 69.8% (PABAK 0.40) of controls, presence/absence of crackles in 70.6% (PABAK 0.41) of cases and 82.4% (PABAK 0.65) of controls and presence/absence of wheeze in 72.6% (PABAK 0.45) of cases and 73.8% (PABAK 0.48) of controls. Controls, tachypnoea, >3 uninterpretable chest positions, crying, upper airway noises and study site predicted listener disagreement. Among all interpretable examinations, 38.0% of cases and 84.9% of controls were normal (p<0.0001); wheezing was the most common sound (49.9%) in cases.

Conclusions: Listening panel and case-control data suggests our methodology is feasible, likely valid and that small airway inflammation is common in WHO pneumonia. Digital auscultation may be an important future pneumonia diagnostic in developing countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjresp-2017-000193DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5531306PMC
June 2017

Effectiveness of a Third Dose of MMR Vaccine for Mumps Outbreak Control.

N Engl J Med 2017 09;377(10):947-956

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta (C.V.C., K.W., H.E.G., M.S., M.M., D.R.F., M.P.); Maximus Federal, Falls Church, VA (R.M.D.); and the University of Iowa (L.J.) and Johnson County Public Health (J.R.), Iowa City, and the Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines (P.Q.).

Background: The effect of a third dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in stemming a mumps outbreak is unknown. During an outbreak among vaccinated students at the University of Iowa, health officials implemented a widespread MMR vaccine campaign. We evaluated the effectiveness of a third dose for outbreak control and assessed for waning immunity.

Methods: Of 20,496 university students who were enrolled during the 2015-2016 academic year, mumps was diagnosed in 259 students. We used Fisher's exact test to compare unadjusted attack rates according to dose status and years since receipt of the second MMR vaccine dose. We used multivariable time-dependent Cox regression models to evaluate vaccine effectiveness, according to dose status (three vs. two doses and two vs. no doses) after adjustment for the number of years since the second dose.

Results: Before the outbreak, 98.1% of the students had received at least two doses of MMR vaccine. During the outbreak, 4783 received a third dose. The attack rate was lower among the students who had received three doses than among those who had received two doses (6.7 vs. 14.5 cases per 1000 population, P<0.001). Students had more than nine times the risk of mumps if they had received the second MMR dose 13 years or more before the outbreak. At 28 days after vaccination, receipt of the third vaccine dose was associated with a 78.1% lower risk of mumps than receipt of a second dose (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.22; 95% confidence interval, 0.12 to 0.39). The vaccine effectiveness of two doses versus no doses was lower among students with more distant receipt of the second vaccine dose.

Conclusions: Students who had received a third dose of MMR vaccine had a lower risk of mumps than did those who had received two doses, after adjustment for the number of years since the second dose. Students who had received a second dose of MMR vaccine 13 years or more before the outbreak had an increased risk of mumps. These findings suggest that the campaign to administer a third dose of MMR vaccine improved mumps outbreak control and that waning immunity probably contributed to propagation of the outbreak. (Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1703309DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6546095PMC
September 2017

Global, regional, and national disease burden estimates of acute lower respiratory infections due to respiratory syncytial virus in young children in 2015: a systematic review and modelling study.

Lancet 2017 Sep 7;390(10098):946-958. Epub 2017 Jul 7.

Arctic Investigations Program, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Anchorage, AK, USA.

Background: We have previously estimated that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was associated with 22% of all episodes of (severe) acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) resulting in 55 000 to 199 000 deaths in children younger than 5 years in 2005. In the past 5 years, major research activity on RSV has yielded substantial new data from developing countries. With a considerably expanded dataset from a large international collaboration, we aimed to estimate the global incidence, hospital admission rate, and mortality from RSV-ALRI episodes in young children in 2015.

Methods: We estimated the incidence and hospital admission rate of RSV-associated ALRI (RSV-ALRI) in children younger than 5 years stratified by age and World Bank income regions from a systematic review of studies published between Jan 1, 1995, and Dec 31, 2016, and unpublished data from 76 high quality population-based studies. We estimated the RSV-ALRI incidence for 132 developing countries using a risk factor-based model and 2015 population estimates. We estimated the in-hospital RSV-ALRI mortality by combining in-hospital case fatality ratios with hospital admission estimates from hospital-based (published and unpublished) studies. We also estimated overall RSV-ALRI mortality by identifying studies reporting monthly data for ALRI mortality in the community and RSV activity.

Findings: We estimated that globally in 2015, 33·1 million (uncertainty range [UR] 21·6-50·3) episodes of RSV-ALRI, resulted in about 3·2 million (2·7-3·8) hospital admissions, and 59 600 (48 000-74 500) in-hospital deaths in children younger than 5 years. In children younger than 6 months, 1·4 million (UR 1·2-1·7) hospital admissions, and 27 300 (UR 20 700-36 200) in-hospital deaths were due to RSV-ALRI. We also estimated that the overall RSV-ALRI mortality could be as high as 118 200 (UR 94 600-149 400). Incidence and mortality varied substantially from year to year in any given population.

Interpretation: Globally, RSV is a common cause of childhood ALRI and a major cause of hospital admissions in young children, resulting in a substantial burden on health-care services. About 45% of hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths due to RSV-ALRI occur in children younger than 6 months. An effective maternal RSV vaccine or monoclonal antibody could have a substantial effect on disease burden in this age group.

Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30938-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5592248PMC
September 2017

Association of C-Reactive Protein With Bacterial and Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Associated Pneumonia Among Children Aged <5 Years in the PERCH Study.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S378-S386

Medical Research Council Unit, Basse, The Gambia.

Background.: Lack of a gold standard for identifying bacterial and viral etiologies of pneumonia has limited evaluation of C-reactive protein (CRP) for identifying bacterial pneumonia. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of CRP for identifying bacterial vs respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pneumonia in the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) multicenter case-control study.

Methods.: We measured serum CRP levels in cases with World Health Organization-defined severe or very severe pneumonia and a subset of community controls. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of elevated CRP for "confirmed" bacterial pneumonia (positive blood culture or positive lung aspirate or pleural fluid culture or polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) compared to "RSV pneumonia" (nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal or induced sputum PCR-positive without confirmed/suspected bacterial pneumonia). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to assess the performance of elevated CRP in distinguishing these cases.

Results.: Among 601 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative tested controls, 3% had CRP ≥40 mg/L. Among 119 HIV-negative cases with confirmed bacterial pneumonia, 77% had CRP ≥40 mg/L compared with 17% of 556 RSV pneumonia cases. The ROC analysis produced an area under the curve of 0.87, indicating very good discrimination; a cut-point of 37.1 mg/L best discriminated confirmed bacterial pneumonia (sensitivity 77%) from RSV pneumonia (specificity 82%). CRP ≥100 mg/L substantially improved specificity over CRP ≥40 mg/L, though at a loss to sensitivity.

Conclusions.: Elevated CRP was positively associated with confirmed bacterial pneumonia and negatively associated with RSV pneumonia in PERCH. CRP may be useful for distinguishing bacterial from RSV-associated pneumonia, although its role in discriminating against other respiratory viral-associated pneumonia needs further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447856PMC
June 2017

Evaluation of Pneumococcal Load in Blood by Polymerase Chain Reaction for the Diagnosis of Pneumococcal Pneumonia in Young Children in the PERCH Study.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S357-S367

Department of International Health, International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background.: Detection of pneumococcus by lytA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in blood had poor diagnostic accuracy for diagnosing pneumococcal pneumonia in children in 9 African and Asian sites. We assessed the value of blood lytA quantification in diagnosing pneumococcal pneumonia.

Methods.: The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) case-control study tested whole blood by PCR for pneumococcus in children aged 1-59 months hospitalized with signs of pneumonia and in age-frequency matched community controls. The distribution of load among PCR-positive participants was compared between microbiologically confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia (MCPP) cases, cases confirmed for nonpneumococcal pathogens, nonconfirmed cases, and controls. Receiver operating characteristic analyses determined the "optimal threshold" that distinguished MCPP cases from controls.

Results.: Load was available for 290 of 291 cases with pneumococcal PCR detected in blood and 273 of 273 controls. Load was higher in MCPP cases than controls (median, 4.0 × 103 vs 0.19 × 103 copies/mL), but overlapped substantially (range, 0.16-989.9 × 103 copies/mL and 0.01-551.9 × 103 copies/mL, respectively). The proportion with high load (≥2.2 log10 copies/mL) was 62.5% among MCPP cases, 4.3% among nonconfirmed cases, 9.3% among cases confirmed for a nonpneumococcal pathogen, and 3.1% among controls. Pneumococcal load in blood was not associated with respiratory tract illness in controls (P = .32). High blood pneumococcal load was associated with alveolar consolidation on chest radiograph in nonconfirmed cases, and with high (>6.9 log10 copies/mL) nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal load and C-reactive protein ≥40 mg/L (both P < .01) in nonconfirmed cases but not controls.

Conclusions.: Quantitative pneumococcal PCR in blood has limited diagnostic utility for identifying pneumococcal pneumonia in individual children, but may be informative in epidemiological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix149DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447847PMC
June 2017

Is Higher Viral Load in the Upper Respiratory Tract Associated With Severe Pneumonia? Findings From the PERCH Study.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S337-S346

Global Disease Detection Center, Thailand Ministry of Public Health-US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration, Nonthaburi.

Background.: The etiologic inference of identifying a pathogen in the upper respiratory tract (URT) of children with pneumonia is unclear. To determine if viral load could provide evidence of causality of pneumonia, we compared viral load in the URT of children with World Health Organization-defined severe and very severe pneumonia and age-matched community controls.

Methods.: In the 9 developing country sites, nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swabs from children with and without pneumonia were tested using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for 17 viruses. The association of viral load with case status was evaluated using logistic regression. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to determine optimal discriminatory viral load cutoffs. Viral load density distributions were plotted.

Results.: The mean viral load was higher in cases than controls for 7 viruses. However, there was substantial overlap in viral load distribution of cases and controls for all viruses. ROC curves to determine the optimal viral load cutoff produced an area under the curve of <0.80 for all viruses, suggesting poor to fair discrimination between cases and controls. Fatal and very severe pneumonia cases did not have higher viral load than less severe cases for most viruses.

Conclusions.: Although we found higher viral loads among pneumonia cases than controls for some viruses, the utility in using viral load of URT specimens to define viral pneumonia was equivocal. Our analysis was limited by lack of a gold standard for viral pneumonia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix148DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447843PMC
June 2017

Addressing the Analytic Challenges of Cross-Sectional Pediatric Pneumonia Etiology Data.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S197-S204

Department of International Health, International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.

Despite tremendous advances in diagnostic laboratory technology, identifying the pathogen(s) causing pneumonia remains challenging because the infected lung tissue cannot usually be sampled for testing. Consequently, to obtain information about pneumonia etiology, clinicians and researchers test specimens distant to the site of infection. These tests may lack sensitivity (eg, blood culture, which is only positive in a small proportion of children with pneumonia) and/or specificity (eg, detection of pathogens in upper respiratory tract specimens, which may indicate asymptomatic carriage or a less severe syndrome, such as upper respiratory infection). While highly sensitive nucleic acid detection methods and testing of multiple specimens improve sensitivity, multiple pathogens are often detected and this adds complexity to the interpretation as the etiologic significance of results may be unclear (ie, the pneumonia may be caused by none, one, some, or all of the pathogens detected). Some of these challenges can be addressed by adjusting positivity rates to account for poor sensitivity or incorporating test results from controls without pneumonia to account for poor specificity. However, no classical analytic methods can account for measurement error (ie, sensitivity and specificity) for multiple specimen types and integrate the results of measurements for multiple pathogens to produce an accurate understanding of etiology. We describe the major analytic challenges in determining pneumonia etiology and review how the common analytical approaches (eg, descriptive, case-control, attributable fraction, latent class analysis) address some but not all challenges. We demonstrate how these limitations necessitate a new, integrated analytical approach to pneumonia etiology data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix147DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447845PMC
June 2017

Detection of Pneumococcal DNA in Blood by Polymerase Chain Reaction for Diagnosing Pneumococcal Pneumonia in Young Children From Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S347-S356

Medical Research Council: Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit.

Background.: We investigated the performance of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on blood in the diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia among children from 7 low- and middle-income countries.

Methods.: We tested blood by PCR for the pneumococcal autolysin gene in children aged 1-59 months in the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study. Children had World Health Organization-defined severe or very severe pneumonia or were age-frequency-matched community controls. Additionally, we tested blood from general pediatric admissions in Kilifi, Kenya, a PERCH site. The proportion PCR-positive was compared among cases with microbiologically confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia (MCPP), cases without a confirmed bacterial infection (nonconfirmed), cases confirmed for nonpneumococcal bacteria, and controls.

Results.: In PERCH, 7.3% (n = 291/3995) of cases and 5.5% (n = 273/4987) of controls were blood pneumococcal PCR-positive (P < .001), compared with 64.3% (n = 36/56) of MCPP cases and 6.3% (n = 243/3832) of nonconfirmed cases (P < .001). Blood pneumococcal PCR positivity was higher in children from the 5 African countries (5.5%-11.5% among cases and 5.3%-10.2% among controls) than from the 2 Asian countries (1.3% and 1.0% among cases and 0.8% and 0.8% among controls). Among Kilifi general pediatric admissions, 3.9% (n = 274/6968) were PCR-positive, including 61.7% (n = 37/60) of those with positive blood cultures for pneumococcus.

Discussion.: The utility of pneumococcal PCR on blood for diagnosing childhood pneumococcal pneumonia in the 7 low- and middle-income countries studied is limited by poor specificity and by poor sensitivity among MCPP cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447841PMC
June 2017

Bayesian Estimation of Pneumonia Etiology: Epidemiologic Considerations and Applications to the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health Study.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S213-S227

Department of Biostatistics.

In pneumonia, specimens are rarely obtained directly from the infection site, the lung, so the pathogen causing infection is determined indirectly from multiple tests on peripheral clinical specimens, which may have imperfect and uncertain sensitivity and specificity, so inference about the cause is complex. Analytic approaches have included expert review of case-only results, case-control logistic regression, latent class analysis, and attributable fraction, but each has serious limitations and none naturally integrate multiple test results. The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study required an analytic solution appropriate for a case-control design that could incorporate evidence from multiple specimens from cases and controls and that accounted for measurement error. We describe a Bayesian integrated approach we developed that combined and extended elements of attributable fraction and latent class analyses to meet some of these challenges and illustrate the advantage it confers regarding the challenges identified for other methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix144DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447849PMC
June 2017

The Enduring Challenge of Determining Pneumonia Etiology in Children: Considerations for Future Research Priorities.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S188-S196

Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi.

Pneumonia kills more children each year worldwide than any other disease. Nonetheless, accurately determining the causes of childhood pneumonia has remained elusive. Over the past century, the focus of pneumonia etiology research has shifted from studies of lung aspirates and postmortem specimens intent on identifying pneumococcal disease to studies of multiple specimen types distant from the lung that are tested for multiple pathogens. Some major challenges facing modern pneumonia etiology studies include the use of nonspecific and variable case definitions, poor access to pathologic lung tissue and to specimens from fatal cases, poor diagnostic accuracy of assays (especially when testing nonpulmonary specimens), and the interpretation of results when multiple pathogens are detected in a given individual. The future of childhood pneumonia etiology research will likely require integrating data from complementary approaches, including applications of advanced molecular diagnostics and vaccine probe studies, as well as a renewed emphasis on lung aspirates from radiologically confirmed pneumonia and postmortem examinations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix143DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447852PMC
June 2017

Colonization Density of the Upper Respiratory Tract as a Predictor of Pneumonia-Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pneumocystis jirovecii.

Clin Infect Dis 2017 Jun;64(suppl_3):S328-S336

Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi.

Background.: There is limited information on the association between colonization density of upper respiratory tract colonizers and pathogen-specific pneumonia. We assessed this association for Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pneumocystis jirovecii.

Methods.: In 7 low- and middle-income countries, nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swabs from children with severe pneumonia and age-frequency matched community controls were tested using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Differences in median colonization density were evaluated using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Density cutoffs were determined using receiver operating characteristic curves. Cases with a pathogen identified from lung aspirate culture or PCR, pleural fluid culture or PCR, blood culture, and immunofluorescence for P. jirovecii defined microbiologically confirmed cases for the given pathogens.

Results.: Higher densities of H. influenzae were observed in both microbiologically confirmed cases and chest radiograph (CXR)-positive cases compared to controls. Staphylococcus aureus and P. jirovecii had higher densities in CXR-positive cases vs controls. A 5.9 log10 copies/mL density cutoff for H. influenzae yielded 86% sensitivity and 77% specificity for detecting microbiologically confirmed cases; however, densities overlapped between cases and controls and positive predictive values were poor (<3%). Informative density cutoffs were not found for S. aureus and M. catarrhalis, and a lack of confirmed case data limited the cutoff identification for P. jirovecii.

Conclusions.: There is evidence for an association between H. influenzae colonization density and H. influenzae-confirmed pneumonia in children; the association may be particularly informative in epidemiologic studies. Colonization densities of M. catarrhalis, S. aureus, and P. jirovecii are unlikely to be of diagnostic value in clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612712PMC
June 2017